The Stoker's Tale

by George Gardner

 When I saw him first I wondered whether I should just offer him money. It was done, I knew, in the more disreputable  parts of London. Probably, for all I was aware, it was done in any port the world over. To have an affliction like this devilment which took me unawares in moments of weakness was a curse of unspeakable horror. Yet it had to be assuaged. The burning, longing desire to be with one of my own sex would overpower me on these occasions and, regardless of the possible ruin and shame which only lately befell poor Oscar Wilde, it had to be indulged. Were it not so indulged I fear I may go mad.

 Unspeakable, they call it. The Love Which Dare Not Speak Its Name. The Unspeakable Vice of the Greeks. Yet, to me, it is a wonderful and fulfilling thing. There is no thing in this Earth which can compare to the nearness, the scent, the embrace, the lips, the strength of another man. No thing at all. No woman has ever made me burn with the desire which I feel for manhood. No food, no fine wine, no great work of music or of poetry or of literature can make my heart sing in manner likened to the merest touch of another man. There is no satisfaction for me save through the intimacy of contact with one of my own sex.

 Since the blight of puberty came upon me I have suffered this, most will say, vile perversion. It has haunted me through my years at school and into my professional life. Always it has been at my side. Always it has urged me. In the dead of night in dreams or, in the light of day, in insane fantasy it has driven me to seek out and find those who are my own kind. To dally with them and to soar to the heights of ecstacy as I revel in their manliness only to plunge into the abyss of despair and shame thereafter at the enormity of my vileness and the folly of weakness which I cannot overcome.

 And so, here it is once again. I saw him two nights past taking respite from his labours in the fiery heart of the great ship. He and some fellows were out on the afterdeck smoking and sharing some ribbald tale by their raucaus laughter. Common fellows, to be sure, but this desire of mine knows no bounds of class or etiquette. Indeed, probably it is the safer for me that my cohorts in these acts of debasement are my social inferiors. They have neither the wit nor the fortune to make any great threat. But they have the sheer animal passion which I so crave. None of the shame or remorse which I, as an educated and sound gentleman of the city, feel in my soul for the indulgence of this base thing. I leant on the rail and bathed in the glory of him. Tall and slim. Muscles built by the shovelling of the coal which gave speed to the mighty ship. Skin smooth and shining in the moonlight on his back and deep chest. The curve of his buttocks encased in the tightness of the grubby white trousers made my manhood stir and I knew that I was, again, lost to my most carnal lust. He was, I fancied, in his middle to late twenties. Probably of irish stock with a shock of sandy-coloured hair, curly and dappled with coal-dust. I watched and I burned hotter than the furnace he had left off tending.

 He saw me and he looked for a moment. Then he winked an eye, smiled and he and his fellows made to return below. I turned away and gazed forward. There, ahead, was America. Only one year past, the mighty Titanic foundered on this same crossing. I knew that, as sure as her sore ending, I also would founder on this cold, dark ocean. Her end came in ice and cold. Mine would come in fire and passion. It would be just as certain nonetheless.

 But how to go about it? It is one thing, in the anonymity of the sordid parts of London, quite another in the forced intimacy of an ocean liner. Eyes watched and tongues wagged. The merest breath of scandal would travel the length of the ship in moments. To be seen associating with even second class passengers would have been frowned upon. Third class, or steerage, an outrage and as for the crew? One was, naturally, aware that they had to be there. One would rather that it were not so and preferred not to have to see them if it could possibly be avoided. It could, of course, be avoided quite easily as crew time on deck was severely restricted as to when and where. Most of the ship was out of bounds to the crew and steerage passengers in any event. Only the after deck was accessible to them. I could, if I so wished, venture down amongst them. First class passengers had, more or less, the run of the ship but to do so would have set every tongue on board to wagging and that I did not want. Discovery of what I was would mean ruin for me. No doubt my not inconsiderable fortune would sustain me for some time, with prudence, but as far as society was concerned I would be dead. Cast out and shamed only ever to be spoken of again in horrified whispers.

 I retired to the sanctity of my suite and began to undress before retiring. My undergarment betrayed my erstwhile arousal by the damp spot where my member had risen. I touched it lightly and my thoughts ran back to the man whose form had been the cause. A rap upon the door and the steward was asking leave to enter. I donned my robe and gave my permission.

 "I'll just turn down your bed, sir," he said, scuttling towards the bedroom. "May I bring you anything? A hot drink perhaps?"

 I loathed the man. He was weasely and ingratiating.

 "Nothing thank you, Simpson."

 He disappeared and I heard him moving around in the bedroom. He would know. He would know the red-haired stoker. Of course he would. But how to broach the subject without arousing his suspicions? Or, maybe not? Maybe there was another way. Money could buy anything, it was believed. I had enough but dare I take such a terrible risk?

 "Will that be all, sir?" the steward asked me as he returned.

 "Tell me, Simpson," I said in as friendly and conspiratorial voice as I knew how. "I think I fancy some company this evening. D'you see?"

 His eybrows arched and a lecherous smirk crept across his tight little mouth.

 "I think I do, sir," he said. "Nice young lady perhaps. Or............?"

 Ah! So this sort of thing was available as I had suspected.

 "Or, Simpson? Or what?"

 "Oh, some gentlemen, sir," he said with some apparent discomfort, "they likes, shall we say, other sorts of company?"

 "Other sorts?"

 "Other sorts, sir, yes," he said. Obviously he wasn't going to speak it outright. Uneducated but not stupid. Hopefully greedy enough for my purpose.

 "Very well, Simpson," I said, reaching my wallet from my dinner jacket pocket. "Let us leave it at 'other sorts'."

 His eyes latched on to the wallet in my hand. I opened it and let him have sight of the banknotes it contained. The desired effect was achieved instantly and I knew he was mine for as long as the money came his way.

 "A person of the manual labouring sort," I said imperiously. "Tall and of good physique."

 Simpson was nodding attentively as I spoke.

 "Oh, and red hair. Curly. Don't bother to have him clean up first."

 My head spun at my lunatic brazeness. Had I finally gone mad?

 Simpson nodded again.

 "I shall give you twenty pounds now," I said, "and then we shall see how well I am served. If I am pleased with what you provide there will be much more, I assure you."

 "Most generous, sir," he said, almost grovelling. "I think I know just what sir requires. Must be late, though, sir. Don't want any complications, do we?"

 "Just as you say, Simpson," I said with a feigned yawn. "Oh and do let him know that I can make it very worth his while, won't you?"

 "Don't you worry about a thing, sir," he said making for the door. "I'll see to everything."

 I didn't know. In my naivity I didn't know that I wasn't alone in my desires. I don't know for what reason I thought it was that those with whom I consorted indulged my perverse inclinations but never did I think that they shared in them. Rather I believed that I exerted some dreadful power over the weak-minded men who did my bidding. Such vanity!

 I finished undressing and lay down on top of my bed. It was large and comfortable, quite the very best that White Star could provide. I had almost sailed on Titanic but last minute business had forced me to miss that fateful trip. By the Grace of God? For me, I think not. Rather the Devil taking care of one of his own. My class, my upbringing, everything that being an English Gentleman entails forbids that I condone myself. Yet my shame is insincere and my repentance short and shallow. Truth to be told, I revel in my monstrosity and it is all the worse for that truth. I am lost and must live lost for I cannot be otherwise.

 Later, as I lay upon my bed trying in vain to repent of the vile thing I had done, there was a soft tap on the outer door. I heard the door opened slowly and quietly and then closed again. My heart raced in my chest as footsteps approached the door to my bedroom. I had left it slightly ajar. There was another soft tap and the door began to open. A shock of red hair appeared followed by a shy, slightly grimey face.

 " sent for me, sir?" he whispered.

 "I believe I did, " I said more brusquely than I intended.

 "Can't be more'n half 'n hour, sir," he went on coming into the room. "I'll be missed an' then there'll be trouble I can tell you."

 "What's your name?" I asked more gently.

 "Ross, sir"

 "Is that your christian name?"

 "That it is, sir."

 "Then come in, Ross," I said with a smile on my lips and in my heart. "Come to me"

 He didn't hesitate. He sat down on the bed beside me and looked into my eyes. His were blue and quite the most peaceful eyes I had ever looked into. He smiled back at me.

 "What can I do for you, sir?" he asked taking my hand gently in his. His hands were large and a little rough but his touch was gentle and my member stirred and began to rise. True to my instructions he hadn't cleaned himself up too much. He smelled of sweat and oil and steam and my senses reeled.

 I sat up and gently pushed him down until he lay full length on the bed.

 "Should I undress, sir?" he asked.

 "Let me do that for you, Ross," I said. "And you mustn't call me "sir" in the circumstances. My name is Jonathon."

 "Oh I coul'n't do that, sir," he said. "Wouldn't be proper."

 "To the Devil with proper!" I said. "Do as I ask, will you?"

 "Just as you say, si..... Jonathon."

 "Thank you."

 And so I let my demon take over. My hand ventured over on to his firm abdomen and began to caress him through the thin vest he wore. He was so warm and beautiful that I felt almost guilty to defile him. But the demon held sway now. I leant over him and, as my hand ran up over his cheek, I let my lips brush lightly against his. He made no protest and, indeed, seemed quite willing to return the kiss. I looked down and saw that his member was thrusting up strongly inside his grubby, white trousers. A willing subject, no less.

 "You got me goin' an' no mistake," he said with a grin.

 I was somewhat taken aback. In previous encounters converation had been absent. The act was concluded in silence - apart from an odd moan or sigh - and then I went my way. This was going to be different and I was a little uneasy.

 "Don't you like to talk, then?" he asked.

 " arose before," I said.

 With a chuckle he grasped my erect member and squeezed it firmly.

 "It's arose now, an' handsome it is, too," he said. "I fancied you was a big bloke when I saw you up on the deck."

 Was this real? Here he was, lying in my bed, making crude remarks about my person. Complimentary at the same time, I have to admit, but ...... No! I liked it! Damn me! Here was a man who also revelled in his monstrosity. Here was a man who had no shame. Here was a man who laughed in the face of the Devil. Here was a man who was everything I would not be.

 I gazed down at him. My heart changed in that moment. I didn't want to use him. I wanted to be used by him. Command me, fair Prince of Coals, and I shall obey thee.

 "Come on then, Jonathon," he said encouragingly. "Time's a'wasting. I won't do you no harm. Truly. I liked what I saw of you or I woul'n've come."

 He put his strong arms around me and pulled me down on top of himself. He held me tightly and kissed me more passionately than I had ever been kissed before. And I was returning his kisses. More and more did I want this man to take me completely into his control. Less and less did I have concern for the consequences.

 I let my hand wander down until I felt his shaft under my fingers. I stroked it gently and marvelled at the way it throbbed and jerked at my touch. He moaned softly and ruffled my hair. Was this affection he was showing? I knew little of affection. It was not something to which men admitted, generally. It was something all men craved, universally. As I gave him pleasure he rewarded me with caresses or kisses on my head and neck. I let my hand slide up under his vest and began to push it up towards his neck. He sat up and let me pull it over his head.

 "My God!" I breathed as I gazed in awe at his muscular chest and his long, strong arms which were so gentle on my poor, pale flesh. He reached over and untied the cord of my robe. I let him. I couldn't stop him. I wouldn't have stopped him had my life been forfeit for that undoing. He slid it from my unprotesting body and looked at me.

 "You's so afraid, aint you, Jonathon?" he said sadly. "There's nothin' to be afraid of, mate. There's nothin' in you that ain't in me, I reckon."

 He lay back again and kept looking at me with those quiet, soft blue eyes. With trembling fingers I began to unfasten his trousers. He placed a hand on my shoulder and caressed me slowly as I fumbled like a fool. He was as patient as he was gentle. At last I succeeded and the magnificent member thrust up, free. He seized me in a crushing embrace and hauled me on top of himself. Our members ground together as our lips met again and again. Something much more than mere lust was passing between us. Something was touching my very soul and making it cry out. For what I did not yet know.

 "I reckon I know what you'll like," he said at last.

 He rolled us over until he was on top and then he began to kiss his way down towards my cock. I did not know what he was about to do. When his warm, soft mouth engulfed me it was too much. My seed erupted into him and he willingly swallowed it all.

 "Sorry, mate," he said with a wry little smile. "Didn't think you was that close."

 "Don't be," I gasped. "Oh dear God! I have never felt anything like that before."

 "You never had 'im sucked afore?"


 "You should've said. I could've just tossed 'im for you."

 "I make no complaint, Ross," I sighed. "Really - none at all."

 "I better go," he said. "They'll be wondering by now."

 I grasped his arm.

 "No. Not just yet."

 I sat up, with some difficulty as my senses were still reeling somewhat, and gently pushed him down on his back.

 "I do believe I want to reward your good service." I even managed a grin.

 "Oh? You do, do you?" he chuckled. "You reckon you can take what I got to give you?"

 "I reckon, yes."

 He lay back and grinned at me.

 "You're takin' to this a bit better now, ain't you?"

 "I believe I am," I said. "Now do shut up and let me get on with this. There's a good chap."

 He laughed softly as I took his cock into my mouth. I had never even contemplated such an act before and now, here I was, going at it with a will. And it was not in the least unpleasant. There was a faint saltiness from his sweat and other subtle flavours that I could not identify. It was wonderful and my own cock was beginning to gorge again as I worked. I used my tongue to stimulate the most sensitive area of his cock as I slid it in and out of my mouth. I don't know how I knew what to do but know I did. Ross moaned quietly and whispered little encouragements to me. He thrust up gently against me as I slid him into my mouth but I did not gag or flinch from him.

 "Here I go," he said at last.

 I felt his magnificent member stiffen still further and then jets of warm fluid spurted into my mouth. I swallowed it greedily and sucked and lapped at it until there was no more to be had.  Ross ruffled my hair again and pulled me up until our lips met again.

 "That's yer lot for now, mate," he chuckled. "You ain't 'alf an eager one."

 "Will you come to me again, Ross," I asked, almost plaintively. "Please?"

 "I reckon I might just do that," he said. "You ain't a bad bloke - for a toff."

 I should have been outraged. I should have chastised him for his lack of manners and downright insolence. Instead I smiled and laughed.

 "You ain't a bad bloke either," I said. "For a....? What are you?"

 "Leading stoker." he said proudly.

 "Well then, for a leading stoker!"

 "You must understand this one thing, though, Jonathon," he said solemnly. "No matter how much I want to. No matter how much you want me to. I can't stay with you more'n a half 'n hour or so."

 "Then it will have to do," I sighed. "To be honest, that's as long as I've ever spent with anyone."

 He shook his head in disbelief.

 "You never spent a whole night?"

 I shook my head.

 He smiled at me.

 "You got an awful lot to learn, mate."

 He leant over and kissed me one last time.

 "When shall I see you again?" I asked.

 "Can't be before Thursday."

 "Thursday, then?"

 "As you say, sir," and he winked at me. My knees trembled and I felt quite giddy.

 "I will make it worth your while, Ross," I said.

 "I don't want your money, mate," he said, patting my shoulder. "It's been worth my while already. Don't you go an' spoil it."

 On reflection, Ross was obviously a much more educated and wiser man than I would ever be in the areas that really mattered. I sought to buy gratification. I was given understanding and affection.


 As I lay on the empty bed I could still smell him. In my mouth I could still taste him. In my heart I could still feel him, close by. I did not know what had happened. I did not know that it would change my life forever. I did not know and I did not care. Something inside me was alive for the first time and it was neither vile nor perverted. It was pure and bright and shining and my heart sang for the joy of it. And yet, still, it was nameless.

 And, indeed, he did come to me again on Thursday. I allowed Simpson to believe he had arranged it, of course, and paid him thirty pounds - an insane sum - on that occasion. If nothing else, perhaps, it would buy his silence. Ross knocked on my stateroom door at ten forty-five. This time I went and opened it to him myself and welcomed him with a kiss as soon as the door was closed. He put his strong arms around me and hugged me tightly to himself and my heart began to sing again.

 "Thank you, Ross," I whispered. "Thank you for coming to me again."

 "I come because I wanted to," he said softly. "There's something in you calls out to me, Jonathon, an' I can't hold back from answerin' to it."

 Was it the same thing that called out to me? It had to be.

 "Come, then, my Prince of Coals," I said with a smile. "Let us not waste these precious moments."

 He chuckled softly as I led him by the hand through into the bedroom. I sat on my bed and looked at him. He was so tall and so beautiful that I almost wept as he smiled down at me with that which I can surely say was fondness in his quiet, blue eyes. I took his unprotesting hands in mine and clasped them to my breast then, lifting them to my face, I kissed them in abasement. I could see most plainly that he was becoming aroused as the front of those wonderful, grubby trousers began to bulge out towards me. I reached out and tenderly stroked his rising member. He leant down and kissed me gently and slowly pressed me back until I lay on the bed. I felt his hand run up my inner thigh and then along my own burgeoning cock. But it did not linger there for long. Soon he was caressing my tingling body, my arms, my neck, my back - all the time his eager lips raining affection upon mine. And I was lacking in my attentions to him. Using all my strength, I rolled us over until I lay atop him. He laughed quietly at my pitiful effort but succumbed to me without protest. I quickly stripped him of his vest and began to give his chest the attentions of my own willing lips. It was wondrous beyond words to taste again the honest sweat which glistened upon the soft hairs. I followed down to his navel and then, beyond all care, down yet further until I was kissing his straining manhood through his trousers. All the time his hands were stroking my back or ruffling my hair in quiet encouragement.

 "You're not so shy this time, are you, mate?" he chuckled.

 "I shall learn, Ross," I said. "Forgive me, but to be allowed such abandon, such freedom from another is quite beyond what I have experienced."

 "You do's you pleases, Jonathon," he said. "I don't reckon you'll do anything I won't like."

 I went back to my work with a will. I opened his trousers and was, at first, rather irritated to find that he wore an undergarment. However, when I had removed his trousers, I was rewarded with a sight which made my heart falter. The undergarment was a brief pair of light cotton shorts. I had never seen the like of them. They fitted him quite tightly and extended only a short way down his muscular thighs. I could clearly see his erection outlined in the thin fabric and my senses reeled. At the tip of his cock, there was a largish wet area where his excitement caused the lubricating fluid to be exuded. My head went down again and I buried my face in the soft, aromatic fabric.

 "You enjoyin' yourself down there?" he asked with a  grin.

 "I am, actually," I replied, smiling back at him. "Do you mind?"

 "Nah!" he said, settling himself more comfortably against my pillows. "You get on with it 's'what I say."

 Get on with it I did. The smells and flavours of his crotch seared through my senses and my cock became so swollen that it began to pain me but I would not go to him for relief just yet. It had occurred to me that it would be something marvellous to see his cock erupt through the thin fabric of his shorts, but would he object? There was but one way to find out, short of asking him, and I took that course. I lay beside him with my head rested on his chest and slipped my hand inside the shorts. I gripped his member firmly and began to stroke it vigorously. His hand gently ruffling my hair showed he held no objection. I stroked and stroked and then he tensed and his head came down and he kissed the back of my neck. His cock jerked in my hand and white, shining  beads of his release erupted through the white cotton of those wonderful shorts. By the time he was done, they were really quite soaked a good three inches around the end of his cock.

 "You know a thing or two, I reckon," he chuckled. "That was good, Jonathon. Lor'! I haven't shot like that for a long time, mate."

 He rewarded me again with a long, lingering kiss.

 "An' now, sir," he said grinning evilly at me. "This time I has to reward you for your good service an' no mistake."

 "I am sure I shall be grateful for whatever you may care to bestow upon me," I chuckled, bowing my head to him.

 He sat up and swiftly divested himself of the sticky shorts. Then he held them out to me.

 "Now you just put these on, mate," he commanded. "Let's see how you likes it, shall we?"

 I didn't hesitate. The sensation of pulling them up over my straining cock almost made me climax there and then but I managed to hold myself in check. Ross turned me around until my back was towards him and then he pulled me in close to himself until I sat against him, with my back against his chest. He enfolded me in his arms for a moment and then he slid his hand down on to my cock and began to work on it. Alas, again it did not take long and my own release mingled with his in the thin shorts. My head spun at the force of it and I allowed my head to fall back and rest upon his strong, deep chest. I knew then that I was truly lost for I knew in my heart that I loved this man.

 "Jonathon?" he said softly.

 "What is it, Ross," I sighed.

 "I love you."

 My heart stopped for I knew as surely as I knew my own heart that he spoke the truth.

 I turned my head and looked into his deep, soft eyes.

 "It should not be," I whispered. "By all reason it cannot be and yet, my Prince of Coals, I love you as you love me."

 With the admission the old world passed away and a new one, one of truth and honesty and trust, came into being.

 Ross helped me out of the shorts which contained our mutual outpouring of the nectar of our love and with not a flinch he pulled them up around his waist. He finished dressing as I watched sadly, knowing that tomorrow we would dock in New York and that I would never see him again.

 But it need not be so! I chided myself. No! Damn me it shall NOT be so!

 I took his hand and stood and faced him squarely.

 "This may sound quite insane," I said with a thin smile. "Ross, I do believe that if I am parted from you I shall surely die. Will you do me the honour of becoming my companion, my lover, my destiny for the rest of my days? I know it will not be an easy thing for the world will hate us for what we are but may not our love be fortress enough to withstand their ire?"

 He leant down and kissed me warmly.

 "I'll stand with you, Jonathon," he said. "I think I might die, too, if I can't be with you, mate."

 And so it has been. There was no place for us in England, or in America for that matter, and so we travelled a while in Europe and finally settled near a small town in the south of France where attitudes were more liberal and the law less oppressive. I have learned from him so much and I have loved him as completely as it is possible for one human being to love another. It is strange to know this one thing. From that second night on the ocean I have known that he loves me. I have always known it. I will always know it though he never say the words to me again. I need only look into his eyes and I know.


© 2003 George Gardner

I've enjoyed the stories in the archive for some time now and so I thought it about time I put something in for others to, hopefully, enjoy. Feel free to comment or criticise.